Music, the kind that’s so alluring it moves you—there are days when I want to turn it up all the way and just kneel to it. To hoist a white flag from atop the balcony of my soul in complete submission. There are times I just want to spend entire evenings like this in complete surrender and wait for the lingering aftermaths to claim me.
There are days when I want to lose. I’ve spent my life running from even the chance of losing. I’ve lived in anxiety. There have to be days when you can lose. I mean life shouldn’t be embarrassing or pitiful but there are so many people that I love, people who are close to me, who will stop at nothing, not even pitting themselves against their own flesh-and-blood kin, just so that they don’t lose. Who cares if you lose once in a while? Life is a series of losing and winning and this idea that you can never lose, ever, cages us and has caged us for so long. I want to be free of that.
I don’t want to lose to violence, but I’d lose to love. And I’d lose to music, but not power. I don’t want to lose to money, but I’d kneel before beautiful scenery, the kind that brings tears to your eyes. I want to fall on my knees and worship the mystic glow of the moon. The moon that rises between the conifers, and the stars that follow it—I’d join those stars and become a servant of the moon, to follow her wherever she goes.
I want to be overwhelmed by love. A love that’s blinding in its brilliance, a love that makes the heart thud to a frantic pitch so high it shudders to a stop—that’s the kind of love I want to kneel before.
And on my way to meet this love, I’ll be crying tears of ice. I want to be caught in the onslaught of a harrowing snowstorm, to be trapped under its weight with both hands, both feet held high, prostrate. Trapped to my thighs in this snowstorm of love is where I wish to stay.
—Unofficial Translation (Revised): Do Jong Hwan’s Essay-letter collections; Maybe someday you will come to this forest
*I posted an unofficial translation of this passage a while back, but I decided it was time to post a revised edition. This translation, I feel, adheres to the original in a way that the first did not. Comments/advice/suggestions are more than welcome.